Monday, September 08, 2008

the end of the long road...

I had a great weekend chock full of things - I took a beginning spin class which I need to tell you all about but even more husband is an Ironman. It has been a year of some ridiculous training, with deliverance coming yesterday - Ironman Wisconsin. I am only sad I did not have a cowbell - we needed "more cowbell"...

Ironman Wisconsin

The day started at 4am, with us arriving at the Mononoa Terrace at 5:30 so that Bill could get marked up with numbers. He was cautiously excited. This was the big show. The 2.4 mile swim started at about 7am, with him coming out of the water approximately 1:45 minutes later. He was looking good, my own anxiety subtly assuaged. Prior to the race we had overheard a child ask his mother "what if Daddy dies? What if he drowns?" We giggled at the time, the innocent truth from a child, but I can tell you now that I had already thought of that, and it was not funny. Somehow Bill's assurances that his life insurance premiums were up to date did not offer much consolation. em.

So onto the bike - again looking good. The guy works at Trek - he has the best bike ever and this was going to be his strongest event - he was laughing in the face of the 112 mile ride. Til his frame cracked and other crazy technical things went haywire - he could not stop pedaling during coasting - which was a crap "set-up" for the upcoming marathon. At one point the officials considered taking him off of the course because his bike wasn't safe - hell no - he went forth. I think my brother-in-law would have carried a new bike on his back to him if he could have, THE LOVE! His bike snafu probably blew his time by 1.5 hours, but he rolled in for the transition to run at about 4:30.

Then the run. He did not focus his training efforts on running, so again, I was nervous. Thankfuly he had a GPS unit on which afforded me constant updates on his locale. Between that and his brother, my sister-in-law, my sister and her husband and some other family friends, I was constantly in touch with how he was doing - I've never texted so much in my life. I was on child duty through the middle of the day so I needed to rely on others, and they were awesome!

I met my "crew" at the Great Dane for a drink and to wait for the finish line shuffle at about 9:30 - after I loaded up his bike and gear. (I dumped the entire contents of his bike bottle in my cargo bag - orange gatorade - comic relief after a tense day!)

We were at the finish line in plenty of time to see many competitors finish - that last ounce of energy. It truly brought tears to my eyes to see the determination and pride in these elite (a.k.a. insane) athletes. I cried several times. And then there he was - 16:24 his final time. He came in strong. He was his chatty self - I was so elated. He got finish pictures, his medal, a bottle of water...we said our goodbyes to our personal support team - and then he got squirrely.

My Ironman was going to eat and then decided at he last minute, hmm, not so much. He wandered out of the food tent towards me and I could tell, some thing was up. He said he was dizzy, I ran for a chair - he directed me the wrong way to a medical tent, we ended up two blocks from the medical people - please note he was cognizant enough to hand me his medal and finisher hat with an adamant "I don't want to puke on this..." And then he staggered to the lawn of the City County Building, laid out like you know who on the mind was racing now - I called my sister-in-law - who is a doctor, then ran in the direction of the medical tent - eventually some medical guy ran with me - we managed to get him vertical and to the tent (and they would not let me come in, can you believe that??! Okay, so I took pictures...) Anyways, a sub sandwich, the "best grapes ever" and some water later he was better. He was probably so light on "fuel" he went kind of vertigo.

Aside from our dramatic end, the day was a total success. I admit I have complained about his ridiculous training schedule all year - we have little kids, I was tired of holding the bag maybe - but yesterday I promised God I would not complain again if He would just bring him safely to the finish. Thankfully, my Ironman is in no hurry for a second event...but it was pure joy yesterday to be part of something so incredible. The Ironman, and so many of the events I have spectated (which my crew and I have decided is really quite hard work, em) brings such a sense of community. The volunteers are fabulous, strangers ask for your partner's number and share their own stories and my family and Bill's family really showed how much they love us with all of their help and kindness (like brunch at the Come Back In thank-you-very-much.) Pretty amazing, indeed. For at least two seconds on event day I think "I want to do this". And then I come to my senses.

ETA: you can read about this Ironman's firsthand experience here.


Anonymous kim said...

Oh, you sound so proud! Congratulations to the Ironman! Well, not to the whole sick thing, but to the accomplishment and to it being over and all. ;)

7:43 PM  
Blogger Kristy said...

Wow, congratulations, Mr. Peaknit! What a riveting post!

9:19 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

OMG I can't believe people actually put themselves through such things (sounds like hell to me!) but congrats to your Man, WOW! So glad he was ok at the end too, I can imagine the worry he must cause you ;-)

9:46 PM  
Blogger Nell said...

Congrats, Mr. Peaknit!!!!

And congrats to you too Peaknit! You made it through the training. And there's aLOT to be said for that!

11:05 PM  
Blogger Cinnamonamon said...

Amazing! Congrats to your DH -- what an amazing feat! :) And absolutely congrats to you; it's a lot of work to be the support person & to take care of all the extras (like those pesky kids... ;)).

Did I mention how cute they were in that last post?

11:56 PM  
Blogger IrishgirlieKnits said...

Congratulations!! Mr. Ironman indeed!!! I have to admit, I'm a little goose-bumpy just reading it! How exciting and how proud you must be!!

12:21 AM  
Blogger bockstark.knits said...

Wow, that is incredible! I cannot imagine how much training this requires. I mean, training for a marathon is enough, but then to add a freakishly long bike ride and a long swim to it? Dear lord, Ironman indeed. Congratulations to him and to your family for surviving through it all. You certainly deserved your wheel and all the fiber you "need", ahem. :) And just for you, here is a picture that will make you smile (my son rowan)!

2:59 AM  
Blogger Knitting Kris said...

WOW - what a great story and testimony to the strength of the human spirit!
There probably wasn't enough caffeine or chocolate to keep me sane as the wife/spectator. through the event or the training phase!
Nicely written post! :) I kinda felt like I was at the Olympics!

5:00 AM  
Blogger Kirsten said...

Congrats to your Ironman!!! That is quite an accomplishment!

More cowbell. . . he-he-he!

6:15 AM  
Blogger At Home Mommy Knits said...

Congratulations to your husband on such an amazing accomplishment!

7:09 AM  
Blogger Aline said...

Glad he is okay! Wow, amazing guy!

7:31 AM  
Blogger mle said...

Wow!! congrats to your hubby! that is amazing!

8:21 AM  
Blogger Marisol said...

Gosh what an amazing experience! How proud you must feel of your DH.

Congratulations to him for enduring and being part of something so awesome:)

11:10 AM  
Blogger Jodi said...

Congrats! What an accomplishment, and what a bummer about the bike. My BIL did the WI Ironman a couple years ago, and I wish I had gone to watch.

Sorry to have missed you at Sheep & Wool -- we were very disorganized up until the last minute, so I wasn't sure when I would make it to the festival.

11:12 AM  
Blogger Bec said...

Your summary of the day brought tears to my eyes. I've never heard it through the mouth of a spectator and spouse as Mark and I have always done it together. I'm so happy for both of you and I am so proud of your husband! He is the true essence of an Ironman and his never ending optimism and smile kept me going throughout all of this. It was so great to meet you and I'm sorry I couldn't chat longer... hopefully soon! Enjoy your recovery and relaxation!!

Smiles, Becky (trek)

11:50 AM  
Blogger leah said...

Wow! Way to go! I'm so glad he was okay!

2:06 PM  
Blogger MollyBeees said...

I bow to your Ironman. I can't even imagine the strenth, both mental and physical, it takes to complete that race. What determination!

The Sow's Ear is having a 'Dishcloth Along Night' tonight until 8:30. You buy/supply the needles and cotton and you get a free pattern. They we all sit around and dish. You comin'?

2:14 PM  
Blogger Olive Knitting said...

Holy-wisconsin-cow! That's awesome. You must be so proud..and glad it's over.

3:10 PM  
Blogger sheepish one said...

MORE COWBELL! do you have an iphone? if so, you can have more cowbell baby, anytime you want!!.html

11:03 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

The weather was so beautiful for the Ironman on Sunday. I am glad he is okay and that he finished. I admire the determination it takes to complete one of those. Well, now maybe he can take a break or lessen his training a bit and you'll get some more time: ) That's hard when you have little ones.

4:39 AM  
Blogger Morticcia said...

WOW! That is beyond my lazybutt comprehension. Kudos to you for picking up the slack so he could train, and kudos to Mr. Peaknit for having a dream and following through on it.

It is moments like these that one's whole life can pivot on. Congrats!

12:31 PM  
Anonymous tiennie said...

Congratulations to your hubby! What an accomplishment!

1:03 PM  
Blogger The A.D.D. Knitter said...

What a great description, that was so interesting to read and learn about--what a major accomplishment!!

4:32 PM  
Blogger KnittingKel said...

Congratulations to your husband! That must've been really annoying that his bike frame cracked. Good thing he's a good rider and didn't crash because of it.

7:31 AM  
Blogger Morticcia said...


I wanted to let you know I nominated you for an award on my blog at

Hope everyone is still recuperating nicely from the competition!


11:10 AM  
Blogger turvid said...

Wow - congrats!

5:17 PM  
Blogger radioactive girl said...

How awesome is this! Congratulations to your husband! And to you for being so patient with his training. I have done Olympic distance triathlons, but for now with 4 small children, that is my limit. I can't even imagine the training required for an ironman!

6:13 PM  
Blogger Melanie said...

a fellow madison knitter checking in - what an amazing story. :)

google reader lead me to you - such a great read.

8:07 PM  

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